SOMERSET Council has encouraged people to plan ahead and save money this Christmas.

It has advised residents to plan their meals in advance to cut down on food waste and save money during the festive period.

Food waste in Somerset tends to rise by 11 per cent during this season, with 238 tonnes thrown out in January 2022 alone.

The council believes planning can aid in protecting the environment.

Somerset Council's waste reduction tips include: checking what's already in the kitchen before shopping, avoiding overbuying 'just in case' as most shops are open during the holidays, planning meals and buying only what is needed.

Somerset Council also advises batch cooking extra meals and creatively using leftovers.

For more ideas, the council encourages residents to visit Love Food Hate Waste website.

Councillor Dixie Darch, executive lead member for environment and climate change, said: "Meal planning for the festive period means you buy only what you need and eat all you buy.

"Planning ahead can also help to keep costs down.

"Remember to take stock before you head to the shops.

"Reducing food waste is also one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint, helping Somerset to be greener and more sustainable."

According to estimates by Love Food Hate Waste, over 100,000 tonnes of poultry, 96,000 tonnes of carrots and 710,000 tonnes of potatoes are discarded nationally each year.

If residents find themselves unable to make use of any leftovers, the council suggests using food waste bins.

All types of food can be recycled – from raw, cooked, fresh, stale, to bones.

It's recommended to wrap waste in newspaper or use bags with a 'looped seedling' logo.

In Somerset, recycled food waste is converted into green energy and soil improver at an anaerobic digestor near Bridgwater.

This then benefits local farms.

Solid fat is suggested for disposal in food waste bins while liquid oils can be recycled at designated recycling sites.

The measures advised by the council can help residents enjoy Christmas without too much waste and staying budget-savvy.